(lōd) pronunciation
    1. A weight or mass that is supported: the load on an arch.
    2. The overall force to which a structure is subjected in supporting a weight or mass or in resisting externally applied forces.
    1. Something that is carried, as by a vehicle, person, or animal: a load of firewood.
    2. The quantity that is or can be carried at one time.
    1. The share of work allocated to or required of a person, machine, group, or organization.
    2. The demand for services or performance made on a machine or system.
  1. The amount of material that can be inserted into a device or machine at one time: The camera has a full load of film.
  2. A single charge of ammunition for a firearm.
    1. A mental weight or burden: Good news took a load off my mind.
    2. A responsibility regarded as oppressive.
  3. The external mechanical resistance against which a machine acts.
  4. Electricity.
    1. The power output of a generator or power plant.
    2. A device or the resistance of a device to which power is delivered.
  5. A front-end load.
  6. Informal. A great number or amount. Often used in the plural: loads of parties during the holiday season.
  7. Slang. A heavy or overweight person.
  8. Genetic load.

v., load·ed, load·ing, loads.

    1. To put (something) into or onto a structure or conveyance: loading grain onto a train.
    2. To put something into or onto (a structure or conveyance): loaded the tanker with crude oil.
  1. To provide or fill nearly to overflowing; heap: loaded the table with food.
  2. To weigh down; burden: was loaded with worries.
  3. To insert (a necessary material) into a device: loaded film into the camera; loaded rounds into the rifle.
  4. To insert a necessary material into: loaded the camera with film.
  5. Games. To make (dice) heavier on one side by adding weight.
  6. To charge with additional meanings, implications, or emotional import: loaded the question to trick the witness.
  7. To dilute, adulterate, or doctor. See synonyms at adulterate.
  8. To raise the power demand in (an electrical circuit), as by adding resistance.
  9. To increase (an insurance premium or mutual fund share price) by adding expenses or sale costs.
  10. Baseball. To have or put runners on (first, second, and third base).
  11. Computer Science.
    1. To transfer (data) from a storage device into a computer's memory.
    2. To mount (a diskette) onto a floppy disk drive.
    3. To mount (a magnetic tape) onto a tape drive.
  1. To receive a load: Container ships can load rapidly.
  2. To charge a firearm with ammunition.
  3. To put or place a load into or onto a structure, device, or conveyance.

get a load of

  1. SlangTo look at; notice. To look at; notice.
  2. To listen to: Get a load of this!
have a load on
  1. SlangTo be intoxicated. To be intoxicated.
take a load off
  1. To sit or lie down.

[Middle English lode, alteration (influenced by laden, to load) of lade, course, way, from Old English lād.]

(1) To copy a program from some source, such as the hard disk or CD-ROM, into memory for execution. In the early days, programs were loaded first and then run. Today, when referring to applications, loading implies load and run. Thus, "load" the program, "run" the program and "launch" the program are synonymous.

People often use the term erroneously to refer to installation; therefore, "load the program" may really mean "install the program."

(2) To fill up a disk with data or programs.

(3) To insert a disk or tape into a drive.

(4) In programming, to store data in a register.

(5) In performance measurement, the current use of a system as a percentage of total capacity.

(6) The flow of current through a circuit. The load is the amount of power used by electrical and electronic equipment.

(7) The volume of traffic in a network.

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  1. Something carried physically: burden1, cargo, freight, haul. Sports impost. See heavy/light, over/under.
  2. A quantity of explosive put into a weapon: charge. See explosion/collapse.
  3. An indeterminately great amount or number. jillion, million (often used in plural), multiplicity, ream, trillion. Informal bushel, gob1 (often used in plural), heap (often used in plural), lot, oodles, passel, peck2, scad (often used in plural), slew, wad, zillion. See big/small/amount.


  1. To place a burden or heavy load on: burden1, charge, cumber, encumber, freight, lade, saddle, tax, weight. See over/under.
  2. To make or become full; put as much into as can be held: charge, fill, freight, heap, pack, pile. See full/empty/capacity.
  3. To fill to overflowing: heap, lade, pile. See full/empty/capacity.
  4. To fill to excess by compressing or squeezing tightly: cram, crowd, jam, mob, pack, stuff. Informal jam-pack. See full/empty/capacity, tighten/loosen.
  5. To put (explosive material) into a weapon: charge. See put in/take out.
  6. To give an inaccurate view of by representing falsely or misleadingly: belie, color, distort, falsify, misrepresent, misstate, pervert, twist, warp, wrench, wrest. Idioms: give a false coloring to. See true/false.
  7. To make impure or inferior by deceptively adding foreign substances: adulterate, debase, doctor, sophisticate. See clean/dirty.


Definition: burden, pressure
Antonyms: benefit, blessing


Definition: burden, saddle
Antonyms: aid, assist, benefit, bless, help


Definition: overburden, pressure
Antonyms: relieve, remove, unburden, unload

The matter transported by a river or stream. Solution load is dissolved in the water. Suspension load refers to undissolved particles which are held in the stream. On the river bed, the material of the bed load jumps by saltation, or rolls along the bed. The deposits forming a channel bed are known as bed-material load.

The sum of all the forces and moments acting on a body. In a human movement, the load is the bone, the overlying tissue, and anything else resisting that particular movement.

A source drives a load. Whatever component or piece of equipment is connected to a source and draws current from a source is a load on that source.

(DOD, NATO) The total weight of passengers and/or freight carried on board a ship, aircraft, train, road vehicle, or other means of conveyance. See also airlift capability; airlift requirement; allowable load.

sign description: One hand outlines the shape of a mound.

noun, orig US

A large amount of alcohol drunk; esp. in phr. to get (or have) a load on. (1598 —) .
V. Palmer We're not to blame if men get a load on and begin to fight (1948).

to get a load of To look at or listen to attentively; to notice. (1929 —) .
D. Bloodworth Get a load of that chick over there (1972).

A dose of venereal infection. (1937 —) .
F. Sargeson They displayed their rubber goods, and...were doubly protected against finding themselves landed with either biological consequences or a load (1965).

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The percentage of oils in a spray dry.

(in metabolic studies) the amount (of a specified substance) given in a metabolic test.

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the quantity of a measurable form of work, e.g. metabolic or circulatory, borne by an organism, especially when it exceeds the normal amount of work for that process. Called also workload.


An external force applied to an object.

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Load (computing)

Htop displaying a big computing load

In UNIX computing, the system load is a measure of the amount of computational work that a computer system performs. The load average represents the average system load over a period of time. It conventionally appears in the form of three numbers which represent the system load during the last one-, five-, and fifteen-minute periods.


Unix-style load calculation

All Unix and Unix-like systems generate a metric of three "load average" numbers in the kernel. Users can easily query the current result from a Unix shell by running the uptime command:

$ uptime
 14:34:03 up 10:43,  4 users,  load average: 0.06, 0.11, 0.09

The w and top commands show the same three load average numbers, as do a range of graphical user interface utilities. In Linux, they can also be accessed by reading the /proc/loadavg file.

An idle computer has a load number of 0 and each process using or waiting for CPU (the ready queue or run queue) increments the load number by 1. Most UNIX systems count only processes in the running (on CPU) or runnable (waiting for CPU) states. However, Linux also includes processes in uninterruptible sleep states (usually waiting for disk activity), which can lead to markedly different results if many processes remain blocked in I/O due to a busy or stalled I/O system. This, for example, includes processes blocking due to an NFS server failure or to slow media (e.g., USB 1.x storage devices). Such circumstances can result in an elevated load average, which does not reflect an actual increase in CPU use (but still gives an idea on how long users have to wait).

Systems calculate the load average as the exponentially damped/weighted moving average of the load number. The three values of load average refer to the past one, five, and fifteen minutes of system operation. [1]

For single-CPU systems that are CPU bound, one can think of load average as a percentage of system utilization during the respective time period. For systems with multiple CPUs, one must divide the number by the number of processors in order to get a comparable percentage.

For example, one can interpret a load average of "1.73 0.60 7.98" on a single-CPU system as:

  • during the last minute, the system was overloaded by 73% on average (1.73 runnable processes, so that 0.73 processes had to wait for a turn for a single CPU system on average).
  • during the last 5 minutes, the CPU was idling 40% of the time on average.
  • during the last 15 minutes, the system was overloaded 698% on average (7.98 runnable processes, so that 6.98 processes had to wait for a turn for a single CPU system on average).

This means that this system (CPU, disk, memory, etc) could have handled all of the work scheduled for the last minute if it were 1.73 times as fast.

In a system with four CPUs, a load average of 3.73 would indicate that there were, on average, 3.73 processes ready to run, and each one could be scheduled into a CPU.

On modern UNIX systems, the treatment of threading with respect to load averages varies. Some systems treat threads as processes for the purposes of load average calculation: each thread waiting to run will add 1 to the load. However, other systems, especially systems implementing so-called M:N threading, use different strategies, such as counting the process exactly once for the purpose of load (regardless of the number of threads), or counting only threads currently exposed by the user-thread scheduler to the kernel, which may depend on the level of concurrency set on the process.

Many systems generate the load average by sampling the state of the scheduler periodically, rather than recalculating on all pertinent scheduler events. They adopt this approach for performance reasons, as scheduler events occur frequently, and scheduler efficiency impacts significantly on system efficiency. As a result, sampling error can lead to load averages inaccurately representing actual system behavior. This can pose a particular problem for programs that wake up at a fixed interval that aligns with the load-average sampling, in which case a process may be under- or over-represented in the load average numbers.

CPU load vs CPU utilization

The comparative study of different load indices carried out by Ferrari et al.[2] reported that CPU load information based upon the CPU queue length does much better in load balancing compared to CPU utilization. The reason CPU queue length did better is probably because when a host is heavily loaded, its CPU utilization is likely to be close to 100% and it is unable to reflect the exact load level of the utilization. In contrast, CPU queue lengths can directly reflect the amount of load on a CPU. As an example, two systems, one with 3 and the other with 6 processes in the queue, will probably have utilizations close to 100% although they obviously differ.

Reckoning CPU load

On Linux systems, the load-average is not calculated on each clock tick, but driven by a variable value that is based on the Hz frequency setting and tested on each clock tick. (Hz variable is the pulse rate of particular Linux kernel activity. 1Hz is equal to one clock tick; 10ms by default.) Although the Hz value can be configured in some versions of the kernel, it is normally set to 100. The calculation code uses the Hz value to determine the CPU Load calculation frequency. Specifically, the timer.c::calc_load() function will run the algorithm every 5 * Hz, or roughly every five seconds. Following is that function in its entirety:

unsigned long avenrun[3];
static inline void calc_load(unsigned long ticks)
   unsigned long active_tasks; /* fixed-point */
   static int count = LOAD_FREQ;
   count -= ticks;
   if (count < 0) {
      count += LOAD_FREQ;
      active_tasks = count_active_tasks();
      CALC_LOAD(avenrun[0], EXP_1, active_tasks);
      CALC_LOAD(avenrun[1], EXP_5, active_tasks);
      CALC_LOAD(avenrun[2], EXP_15, active_tasks);

The avenrun array contains 1-minute, 5-minute and 15-minute average. The CALC_LOAD macro and its associated values are defined in sched.h :

#define FSHIFT   11             /* nr of bits of precision */
#define FIXED_1  (1<<FSHIFT)    /* 1.0 as fixed-point */
#define LOAD_FREQ (5*HZ)        /* 5 sec intervals */
#define EXP_1  1884             /* 1/exp(5sec/1min) as fixed-point */
#define EXP_5  2014             /* 1/exp(5sec/5min) */
#define EXP_15 2037             /* 1/exp(5sec/15min) */
#define CALC_LOAD(load,exp,n) \
   load *= exp; \
   load += n*(FIXED_1-exp); \
   load >>= FSHIFT;

Other system performance commands

Other commands for assessing system performance include:

  • uptime the system reliability and load average
  • top for an overall system view
  • htop interactive process viewer
  • iftop interactive network traffic viewer
  • iotop interactive I/O viewer - iotop homepage
  • iostat for storage I/O statistics
  • netstat for network statistics
  • mpstat for CPU statistics
  • tload load average graph for terminal
  • xload load average graph for X
  • /proc/loadavg text file containing load average

See also

External links


  1. ^ This paper's discussion is useful, but it contains at least one error, in equation 3 (Section 4.2, page 12): The equation should be load(t) = n e-5/60 + load(t-1) (1 - e-5/60) instead of load(t) = load(t-1) e-5/60 + n (1 - e-5/60).


  1. ^ Ray Walker (01 December 2006). "Examining Load Average". Linux Journal. http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/9001. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  2. ^ Domenico Ferrari and Songnian Zhou, “An Empirical Investigation of Load Indices For Load Balancing Applications” Proc. Performance ’87, the 12th Int’l Symp. On Computer Performance Modeling, Measurement, and Evaluation, North Holland Publishers, Amsterdam. The Netherlands 1988. pp. 515-528


Dansk (Danish)
n. - byrde, vægt, mængde, læs, last, ladning, pligt, belastning, strømbelastning, kønssygdom
v. tr. - læsse, belaste, belæsse, lade, indtage narkotika
v. intr. - læsse, belaste, belæsse, lade, indtage narkotika


  • a load of    en (rædsom) masse, en bunke
  • a load off one's mind    der faldt en sten fra hjertet
  • get a load of    høre, se
  • load down    belaste, belæsse, tynge
  • load the dice    forfalske terningerne
  • load the dice against    have alle odds imod sig, stå over for en stor overmagt
  • loads of    masser af, massevis af

Nederlands (Dutch)
laden, opladen, beladen, bevrachten, belasten, verzekeringspremie verhogen, verzwaren met lood, knoeien met (dobbelsteen etc.), lading, vracht, belasting, elektrische lading, last

Français (French)
n. - charge, chargement, cargaison, (fig) fardeau, (Tech, Méd) charge, fournée, (Élec) charge, (fig) travail, des tas ou des quantités
v. tr. - (gén) charger, (Élec) surcharger, majorer (une prime d'assurance), (Comput) charger, combler/couvrir qn de, piper (un dé)
v. intr. - charger


  • a load of    cargaison, chargement
  • get a load of    vise un peu, regarde un peu, écoute un peu
  • get a load on    regarder, écouter
  • load down    charger, accabler
  • load the dice    piper les dés
  • load the dice against    piper les dés contre
  • loads of    des tas de, une masse de, en quantité
  • take a load off one's mind    enlever un poids de sa conscience

Deutsch (German)
n. - Last, Bürde, Ladung
v. - laden, beladen, einlegen, überhäufen


  • a load of    eine Menge, eine Ladung von
  • get a load of    genau aufpassen
  • get a load on    (AmE) (inf) betrunken werden, blau werden
  • load down    ausladen
  • load the dice    die Würfel präparieren
  • load the dice against    (unfair) benachteiligen
  • loads of    eine Menge, massenhaft
  • take a load off one's mind    ein Stein vom Herzen

Ελληνική (Greek)
n. - φορτίο, βάρος, "παρτίδα", σύνολο φορτίου, "φόρτωμα", γέμιση, γόμωση, εμπύρευμα, φόρτος (έργου κ.λπ.), ανδρικό σπέρμα
v. - φορτώνω, "γεμίζω", οπλίζω, φορτίζω, βάζω μολύβι (σε μπαστούνι, ζάρια)


  • a load of    αφθονία, πλήθος από
  • a load off one's mind    ανακούφιση
  • get a load of    δίνω ιδιαίτερη προσοχή σε
  • load down    φορτώνω, βαραίνω
  • load the dice    στήνω ζάρια
  • load the dice against    επηρεάζω τις εξελίξεις σε βάρος
  • loads of    αφθονία/πλήθος από, ένα σωρό

Italiano (Italian)
caricare, carico, carica


  • a load of    un carico di, una quantità di
  • get a load of    fare il pieno di
  • load down    scaricare
  • load the dice    barare
  • loads of    una quantità di

Português (Portuguese)
n. - carga (f)
v. - carregar


  • a load of    grande quantidade
  • get a load of    ter muito
  • load down    estar sobrecarregado
  • load the dice    chumbar os dados
  • loads of    montes de, grande quantidade de

Русский (Russian)
грузить, производить посадку, обременять, осыпать чем-л., заряжать, насыщать, нагрузка, груз, бремя, заряд, мера веса


  • a load of    бремя чего-л.
  • get a load of    понять что-л., смотреть на что-л., осознавать, внимательно слушать
  • load down    загружать
  • load the dice    наливать свинцом игральные кости, предрешать исход игры, настраивать против кого-л.
  • loads of    множество, толпы

Español (Spanish)
n. - peso, cargamento, cabida, cargo
v. tr. - cargar, poner, embarcar, armar
v. intr. - hacer más pesado


  • a load of    gran cantidad de, montones, una sarta de
  • get a load of    ¡mira esto!, ¡escucha esto!
  • get a load on    mirar, escuchar, observar
  • load down    cargar, sobrecargar
  • load the dice    cargar los dados, hacer trampa
  • load the dice against    hacer algo tramposo que da ventajas a uno
  • loads of    la mar de, cantidades, montones
  • take a load off one's mind    quitarse un peso de encima, sacarse una carga de la mente

Svenska (Swedish)
n. - last, lass, börda (äv. bildl.), (tekn.) belastning, laddning (i skjutvapen)
v. - lasta, lassa, fylla, lägga in i, belasta, tynga ner, komma att digna, överhopa, överösa, ladda, förse med blytyngd, förfalska, höja en premie, ta in (ombord) last, ta in (ombord) passagerare, (bö

中文(简体)(Chinese (Simplified))
负荷, 装载量, 重担, 装载, 使担负, 装填, 装货, 装料, 装弹药


  • a load of    一车的, 一大堆的
  • a load off one's mind    消除某人思想负担, 使某人安心
  • get a load of    打量
  • load down    满载
  • load the dice    使用不正当手段, 使用灌铅骰子
  • load the dice against    使用不正当手段
  • loads of    很多

中文(繁體)(Chinese (Traditional))
n. - 負荷, 裝載量, 重擔
v. tr. - 裝載, 使擔負, 裝填
v. intr. - 裝貨, 裝料, 裝彈藥


  • a load of    一車的, 一大堆的
  • a load off one's mind    消除某人思想負擔, 使某人安心
  • get a load of    打量
  • load down    滿載
  • load the dice    使用不正當手段, 使用灌鉛骰子
  • load the dice against    使用不正當手段
  • loads of    很多

한국어 (Korean)
n. - 적하, 고민, 적재랑, 장전, 취한 상태
v. tr. - 짐을 싣다, 태우다, 채우다, 탄환을 재다
v. intr. - 짐을 싣다, 올라타다, 총에 장전하다


  • a load of    다수 , 다량, 듬뿍
  • a load off one's mind    마음의 짐을 덜어주다
  • get a load of    ~을 듣다, ~을 보다
  • load down    부담을 주다

日本語 (Japanese)
n. - 積み荷, 負担, 負担量, 仕事量, 一台分の積み荷, 積載量, 負荷, 荷重
v. - 荷を積む, 積む, …にどっさり与える, 詰め込む, …にどっさり載せる, 装填する


  • a load of    ~の重荷, 多量の
  • a load off one's mind    安心する
  • get a load of    見る
  • load down    …にどっさり積み込む, たくさん負わせる
  • load the dice    さいころに仕込む
  • load the dice against    人に不利になるように仕組む
  • loads of    たくさんの

العربيه (Arabic)
‏(الاسم) حمل, حموله, شحنه, ثقل, عبء, مسؤوليه ثقيله, مقدار مسكر من شراب كحولي, عدد وافر, حشوة أو شحنه سلاح ناري (فعل) يحمل, يثل, يرهق, يغمر, يزود بوفرة, يغش, يضيف إليه مبلغا بعد حساب النفقات والأرباح, يحشو سلاحا ناريا أو يلقمه‏

עברית (Hebrew)
n. - ‮משא, מיטען, מעמסה, מועקה, כמות עבודה (של מנוע), עומס חשמלי, יחידת-משקל לחומרים מסוימים, משימה בעבודה, התנגדות מכונה לכוח המניע‬
v. tr. - ‮הטעין (אוניה), טען (כלי-נשק, סרט למצלמה וכו'), העלה (דמי-ביטוח) בשל הגדלת הסיכון, הוסיף משקולת, הכביד‬
v. intr. - ‮הטעין (אוניה)‬

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